Day 4: Tuesday 1 November
November 4, 2011 2 Comments
Yes, of course we should have a national public holiday for the Melbourne Cup! After all, practically everyone takes it off anyway. I say we just swap Melbourne Cup for the Queen’s Birthday holiday and be done with it. In fact, why not just make Phar Lap Head of State? He’s just as stuffy. Oops, I meant stuffed.
The green lantern
After arriving at the hospital around 930am I didn’t get to leave til after 730pm. Another long and boring day. I was told to expect boredom to be one of the worst side effects of this treatments and my informant was right.
I had some blood tests this morning and there was a bit of waiting around until Dr Yan came in to offer his final determination on what treatment I should have, in what order and with what timing. I understand that he had consulted with other colleagues including those at a sister clinic in Guangzhou.
I freaked out a little when the list of costs for the additional therapies was delivered. I already knew what they were but now that it was real it was just a bit hard to take in. Brad pointed out that the cost of all the extra therapies would probably cost the same over two months as one extra cycle of SPDT. Basically, I’ve jumped in the deep end so I might as well use that Bronze Medallion and just keep swimming.
After lunch I started on the chlorophyll drops again. The process takes five hours to absorb two bottles of drops under the tongue, and two drops are administered every two minutes or so. Fortunately I have a remarkable talent of being able to multi-task while I am asleep. I drifted off to sleep and managed to have just the right amount of consciousness to be able to open my mouth every time someone came to put the drops in my mouth, all the while staying asleep. I’ve taken some photos of what I look like with green teeth, tongue and lips. Not a pretty sight, but all part of this wild ride.
The kindness of strangers (and especially friends!)
I am overwhelmed and taking great heart from the stream of goodwill messages from friends and strangers at this difficult time.
All the words of comfort and support mean a great deal to me and lift my spirits every time a new message comes through.
It is heartening to receive messages from people I haven’t been in touch with since high school, friends’ parents and other people whose paths have crossed mine over the years.
Today I received a message from a stranger whose own friend recently died from cancer, far too young. He and I swapped messages bemoaning the stranglehold that big-Pharma has on the medical system in Australia and beyond. I promised that should I win this battle, or at least get a decent reprieve from my killer disease, then I will do everything that I can to make the treatments that I am getting here in China available in Australia to people who choose this pathway.
Royal Massage City
Well, we sure thought all our Christmases had come at once when we saw the glistening lights of “Royal Massage City” just up the road from our hotel. After sleeping on a bed apparently made of brick pavers we were both well and truly in need of a decent Chinese back massage… you know, like the ones you can get in Northbridge.
We couldn’t believe our good fortune when we were greeted by women in long silk dresses and men in smart suits with high-tech headphones making the whole outfit look like a very smooth operation. We dispensed with our footwear and were quickly seen to a room with two massage beds and offered soft drink. But then the problems started. We have mastered “hello” in Mandarin, but we’re currently struggling on word two: “thank you.” It’s a tricky one. Suffice to say that we haven’t got “massage” down in our vocab yet. After desperately trying to use pidgin-sign language to say we want a half hour back massage each, we gave up and called our interpreter to see if she could have more luck. Given I’m still using global roaming but the time the whole negotiation had ended I think I probably racked up $20-30 just trying to get out of the gate.
Eventually the guy in charge left us with the two massage ladies. We changed into the prescribed massage garb which was a particularly unattractive grey-white shorty-pyjama looking number. The masseuses spent a lot of time giggling and possibly catching up with each other on the latest daytime soap opera but didn’t seem to be putting a lot of effort into the massages. I can safely say it was one of the worst massages I’ve ever had since it lacked any sort of purpose, had no pressure and offered no relief to either of our sore back problems.
Oh, and there was one other thing. The masseuses were wearing uber-short skirts and schoolgirl uniforms. Ummmmm….. Don’t think we’ll be going back there.